Free Fun in Miami
Miami may be a city that loves to splash its cash, but there are a lot of free activities and attractions to enjoy in this popular Sunshine State vacation spot. Miami is filled with great activities and attractions for the whole family, and some of Miami’s many charms can be enjoyed without spending a dime.
Miami has earned a reputation as one of Florida’s top holiday spots, and the good news for travelers on a budget is there’s a long list of Miami vacation ideas that won’t cost a dime. From enjoying the city’s natural charms to taking in its architecture, museums, festivals, theatre, and concerts, there’s plenty to keep travelers amused without dipping into the travel kitty.
Florida is famous for its stunning beaches, where travelers can soak up the sunshine and splash in the clear turquoise waters to their heart’s content. Miami has miles of free-access beaches, but they aren’t the only free things to do for tourists.
Free Outdoor Activities and Natural Wonders for Tourists in Miami
The watery wonderland of Biscayne National Park is perfect for snorkeling amongst beautiful coral reefs. Fishing enthusiasts can take advantage of the Florida park’s free fishing classes and pick up on the latest tips and tricks.
From December to April, a whole range of free activities is on offer as part of Biscayne National Park’s Family Fun Fest. Held on the second Sunday of the month, Family Fun Fest includes five hands-on activity stations around the park, led by friendly volunteers.
Visitors who have their own canoes or kayaks can launch them for free into the park’s shallow bay waters – the perfect place to spot sharks, rays, schools of fish, and other marine life. While those who prefer to stay dry can spot manatees and dolphins from the shore.
Other popular outdoor places to visit for free include Virginia Key Beach Hammock, Simpson Park, and the peaceful Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden with its serene rock garden and stone pagoda.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday scenic Bayfront Park puts on free yoga classes by the bay. Yoga In the Park is held outside in the fresh air, just near the Tina Hills Pavilion. Participants must be 18 or over and bring their own yoga mat, towel and water. All classes are taught by a qualified instructor, and those who would like more information can call 305-358-7550.
Free Art Deco Architecture Walks and Talks
No trip to Miami would be complete without taking in the city’s historic Art Deco architecture. Miami has more Art Deco buildings than anywhere else in the world, with more than 800 original buildings from the 1920s and 1930s found in a one-mile radius at South Beach.
Every January more than 400,000 people turn out for Miami’s Art Deco Weekend, which features free talks, performances, and tours. Visitors who miss the festival can take themselves on a self-guided walking tour to soak up the architectural delights of South Beach, or for just 25 cents can rest their weary feet on the South Beach local bus shuttle.
The Versace Mansion is one of the most photographed spots on a South Beach walk. Found at 1116 Ocean Drive, the mansion was home to Gianni Versace until he was tragically shot and killed on his doorstep in 1997.
Free Things to Do in Miami’s Little Havana
Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, in Little Havana’s Calle Ocho, is described as an “artistic, cultural, and social arts and culture fair”. Viernes Culturales takes place on the last Friday of each month from 6.30 pm to 11 pm in the heart of Calle Ocho (8th St. SW between 14th and 17th Avenues).
The fair is free to the public and combines outdoor musical performances with art exhibitions, cuisine tasting, films, visits to art galleries, and free walking tours. The perfect way for tourists to get a feel for the local Latino community.
Miami’s Beaches and National Parks with Kids
While some may believe certain sights on Miami’s beaches are best suited for adults, families with young children can claim a patch of sand in the family-friendly stretches of beach between 53rd and 63rd Street. This is where big and small kids throw themselves into sand castle buildings and search for buried treasure. Not to mention enjoying the local playground.
The fun continues in the stunning natural areas surrounding Miami, including Biscayne National Park where children can spot porpoises and manatees from the shore. Budding young fishermen can learn tips and tricks at the National Park’s free fishing classes, while those with kayaks and canoes can launch them for free into the mangrove-fringed waters and look out for sharks and rays amongst the schools of fish.
On the second Sunday of the month from December to April, Biscayne National Park is host to a Free Family Fun Fest. Children are given free “passports” which they can punch at each of the five hands-on activity stations around the park. Those who collect all five receive a special button as a souvenir.
When to Visit Miami Museums for Free
On the second Saturday of every month, art lovers can enjoy free admission to the Miami Art Museum during the day, and then head over to the Wynwood Art District where galleries stay open until 10 p.m. Meanwhile, the famous Wolfsonian-FIU art museum, which can be found nestled in the heart of the Art Deco district, is free after 6 p.m. every Friday.
The Jewish Museum of Florida is free for visitors on Saturdays, while Miami’s Holocaust Memorial is always free and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. On a lighter note, the World of Bacardi Museum traces the history of the famous rum and includes exhibitions by local and international artists. The Bacardi Museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and free to the public.
Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables
Over at the famous Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, professional storytellers take audiences through some of the hotel’s famous history with a free tour and talk. The talks take place every Sunday at 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30 pm, and with guests including Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Al Capone, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, there are plenty of great stories to tell about Miami’s glamorous past.
When it’s time to get back to present-day Miami, nothing beats old-fashioned people-watching. Head to South Beach, find a comfy spot in a park or on the beach, sit back, and savor one of the best free activities a tourist can take part in.
Miami Museums Open Their Doors to Children for Free
Children who like to explore museums will love Miami. Not only does the Florida city have the usual art and history museums, but it’s also home to a Children’s Museum, filled with interactive exhibits. Kids can see sand from around the world as they climb through a two-story sandcastle, design their own bank bills in a six-foot piggy bank, dress up as superheroes steer a fire truck to an emergency, and much more.
Miami Children’s Museum
Every month, the Miami Children’s Museum lets children explore the hundreds of exhibits for free. To take advantage of this offer, simply visit the museum at 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, on the third Friday of the month between 3 and 9 p.m.
Miami Art Museum
Kids who love art will enjoy a trip to the Miami Art Museum, which has a range of activities for children including live music, storytelling, games, and guided tours. The Museum is free for families with children between 1 and 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month. The Miami Art Museum is located at 101 West Flagler Street.
Stargazing children will be blown away by the star show at the Weintraub Observatory. On the first Friday of each month at 8 pm, the Observatory puts on a free planetarium show which is then followed by an Observatory session where children can peer through telescopes and marvel at the planets, including the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.
The Cape Florida Lighthouse: A Great Spot for a Family Picnic
Families can then check out the Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne, and enjoy a picnic by the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. They may then consider joining one of the lighthouse tours that are conducted at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. each day by a ranger.
Tour spots are available on a first-come best-served basis, and include a visit to the reproduction of the Keeper’s Cottage, and then the chance to step into the lighthouse itself. Weather permitting, it may be possible to walk up to the top of the lighthouse where the family can take in stunning views. To join the tours, visitors need to meet at the entrance gate to the lighthouse shortly before 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Then it’s back to the city to see what else takes a visiting family’s fancy. Every year Miami has a variety of special events that include free activities and festivals for the family. For more information about free events that may be on when they are in town, tourists can visit the City of Miami’s calendar of events and enter their travel dates.
- Free Fun in Miami